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Find popular keywords that my competitors share
Find popular keywords that my competitors share

How to pinpoint the most sought-after keywords in your industry

Sidra Condron avatar
Written by Sidra Condron
Updated over a week ago

We consider this one of the important first steps in starting your PPC campaign. Knowing who your competitors are will give you stronger footing. You can:

  • Learn from their mistakes

  • Emulate what they do well. 

  • Study their keywords for new ideas 

  • Get suggestions of keywords you should add.

A competitor's spending patterns give you a sense of how much you’ll need to spend in order to compete, and viewing their history gives you a sense of market changes they’ve had to weather. Don’t hesitate to check out a beginner’s guide to PPC before jumping in.

And of course--the reason you are here--finding the popular keywords that your competitors share is a helpful strategy.

When one competitor buys (advertises on) a keyword, it's interesting. When two or more competitors buy the same keyword, it's a big, positive sign. That keyword brings in the right audience for your industry, and it converts.

Here are two ways to find these shared keywords:

Start with Kombat (Competitors’ Shared Keywords section) : The automatic battle compares your competitors’ domains along with your own so you can find their shared, trusted keywords you don’t already buy.

Or, start with Top Keywords: Entering any domain in the search bar reveals extensive insights, including its most trusted keywords and its full paid keyword list.

Option 1: Start with Competitor Shared Keywords (Kombat)

  1. Type a competitor’s domain into the SpyFu search bar and choose the Kombat tab (PPC shown here).

2. Click the “Core Keywords” group. This is an overlap of all 3 competitors’ keyword circles. Of all of your options, this overlap gives you the most popular keywords that your competitors all bet on.

3.  Once you click, the results open at the bottom. (Clicking will automatically take you there). Export it or view it in your browser: this list is filtered to popular keywords amongst your competitors.

Some modifications:

1.1 If your own domain shows up in the competitor list…

you can replace it with another known competitor OR you can choose an overlap that doesn’t include your domain. For a detailed guide of how to add more than 3 competitors, try our longer Kombat overview.

1.2 You can also reach Kombat by using the preview from the overview.

Starting from the main page, type a competitor’s domain into the search bar and hit enter. The results page (the overview) includes a shortcut to the Kombat tool. Look for this widget on the page and click through. SEO keywords are on the left of this page, and PPC keywords are on the right.


We also have video guides for using Kombat to find popular keywords for SEO and for PPC.

Option 2: Start with their Top Keywords (Domain Overview)

1. Enter your competitor’s domain into the main search bar on’s home page. The results page (overview) includes the domain’s top keywords. Scroll down to find it.

You can scroll down to find them, but just like with Kombat, there is a shortcut right at the top of the results page.

2.  These results include every keyword your competitor has advertised on, putting the most recent, highest ranked ads toward the top of the list.

3.  Export the keyword list, or use the interactive grid where you can filter these popular keywords from your competitors.

How can I narrow down my keyword list to something even more relevant?

Not every keyword that your competitors share is going to be right for you. They might be out of your range or in a part of the niche that your services don't cover. You might consider creating content on tangential topics and then offer more relevant information later in the same piece. See if you can get traction out of that experiment. However, for keywords that just don't fit your budget or needs, you can filter them down.

When you get your results in Kombat or in the Paid Keywords section, look to the left side of the page. There are built-in keyword filters that allow you to narrow the results down to keywords that match your must-have criteria.

Make your competitor's keywords more relevant when you use the filters on SpyFu pages like Kombat and SEO or PPC Keywords.

How can I find keywords that my competitors all rank for?

These same methods work for organic (SEO) keywords. You can choose SEO Kombat, and follow the same steps outlined above. The tool will find keywords that multiple organic competitors all rank for--within the top 100 results.

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